The 2011 Copperbelt Couples Conference

 This year’s Copperbelt Couples Conference (CCC) took place on the 4th of June 2011. The conference was for the second time successfully held at Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation in the Mark Fisher Hall.  The CCC was initiated in 2009 during the visit of Mark Wayne and his wife from South Africa as a ‘one off thing’ held at YMCA in Kitwe.  The successful holding of this meeting is what, in the providence of God, led to the inauguration of the CCC as an annual event in the subsequent year. The 2010 conference that followed was graced by Rev. Joe Simfukwe and this too proved a success and popular going by the number of couples who attended coming from the cross section of evangelical churches.  The CCC in particular is convened in Kitwe and hosted by Trinity Baptist Church of Kitwe on behalf of the other Reformed Baptist Churches in the Copperbelt.

George Sitali preaching during the Copperbelt Couples Conference

This year’s marked yet again the third successful holding of the event in Kitwe.  This time around the speaker was drawn from within the Reformed Baptist fraternity in the name of Brother Gorge Sitali of Kabwata Baptist Church (KBC) in the good company of his dear wife Judge Anne Sitali from Lusaka. Brother Sitali was tasked to teach on a thorny subject of “Money matters in a home – a couple’s attitude to wealth”.  The subject was ably delivered and extensively covered that in the end it was acknowledged that there was no better person to have handled it than our own brother.

Congregational singing during the Copperbelt Couples Conference

The subject of wealth and prosperity has proved dicey among many a couple in our circles. It has led to marital breakdowns and to the dampening of many a spiritual life. Wealth to them has become a destructive snare in the end and no longer the intended blessing. The question that presents itself is this, do we have a model within our circles of a couple that we can use to placard the right way of handling wealth? The answer to this question determined the choice for the selection of the ideal person to grace the conference for this year.  The lot fell on Gorge and Hon. Justice Anne Sitali. For instance, Gorge is a partner at a popular engineering consulting firm in Lusaka and a position he has held for some time now. His wife on the other hand, serves as the Honourable Justice of the High Court of Zambia.  On the spiritual side, Gorge serves as an Elder at KBC. Their private and public lives are both outstanding, exemplary and a model. So when Gorge unravelled this topic he spoke both from the Word of God and from his personal experience as a successful businessman and who, at the same time, has managed to balance the dicey matrix of material blessings and spirituality and yet coming from a humble beginning. I think to me this is what made his delivery to the august house penetrative, soul searching and corrective. This was also the personal view and confession of many a couple interviewed at the end of the meeting.

Brother Sitali unravelled the topic by starting in the first session with Biblical principles on how to dispense money in a home environment. He pointed out that our lives on earth are to be centred on God and hence, we are mere stewards of the blessings of God.  Therefore a steward is obliged to consider cash as a tool in his hands for glorifying God and for the advancement of His Kingdom. It is intended to be a measurement of their Christianity and of how much they love the Lord. If this principle is missed or confused it may lead to entanglement and enslavement and hence, spiritual dampening.  In the second session, he elaborated on Biblical examples of couples who employed their material blessings to serve God to the utmost. Their service included hospitality, evangelism, contentment, giving and labour. The third session was on pitfalls to avoid when handling finances in the home and individual lives while the fourth and final session was given to questions and answers.

The overall attendance for this year was sixty couples drawn from a cross section of the evangelical churches in the Copperbelt and from Kabwe. I am sure that the lessons learnt during this years’ conference will go a long way in enriching many a couple in knowing how to balance the matrix of material blessings with spirituality and this to the glory of God.

Emmanuel Sakala

Pastor, Fairview Reformed Baptist Church

 

Kabwata Baptist Church celebrates its Silver Jubilee

(From Pastor Conrad Mbewe’s Blog, www.conradmbewe.com)

 “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night” (Exodus 13:21).

On 25th January 2011, Kabwata Baptist Church clocked 25 years as an independent local church. I wrote a blog on that occasion stating that we had almost missed the occasion due to the “over forty” syndrome. The church leadership, however, determined that some time in the course of the year, time should be taken to commemorate this important milestone in the church’s life. That occasion finally came this month. We dedicated two Sunday evening services (5th and 12th) to our Silver Jubilee and ended the commemoration with an afternoon’s event last Saturday, 18th June 2011. It was truly a fitting crescendo.

One of our elders, John Kumwenda, opened the celebration by sharing with us from Exodus 15 about the joy of Moses, Miriam, and the Israelites experienced at God’s great deliverance from Pharaoh’s Egypt. He then exhorted us to also spend the time in God-honouring thanksgiving for his goodness to us especially in the last five years.

Patience Namangala: “These have been the best years of my life!”

Testimonies and Songs

On the previous two evening services when we commemorated this event, we had one member (Mmamulatelo Siame) and one deacon (Kasango Kayombo) sharing with us about their experiences in being members of KBC in the last five years. On this final day, we had Alexander Mwilambwe (a teacher with the church school) and Patience Namangala (the pastor’s office assistant) sharing with us their experiences in working at KBC. Alexander talked about how he had learnt to work hard and to see teaching as a ministry to children and not just a means of getting an income. Patience talked about her initial plans to just work at KBC for a few months and move on to greener pastures, but has been so blessed in the period she has worked at KBC that she now wants to remain as long as possible. “It has been the best years of my life,” she said.

Christ Life—a singing group comprising young men in the church

Apart from congregational singing, which centred on God’s faithfulness, various groups sang special songs to the congregation. These included “Christ Life”, the KBC Music Ministry, the Chisomo Baptist Church musical ensemble (which was just assembled together in the last one week, specifically to sing on this occasion), etc. Other groups were nameless, but their singing really ministered to our hearts.

Interviews of Leaders

One of our members, Noel Konga, interviewed the elders of the church. Only Pastor Chipita Sibale was missing from the panel, as he had to attend to some family duties. We all introduced our families and ourselves for the sake of our new members. Then there were questions related to how we managed in their busy work schedules, how we ensure spiritual oversight over our families, whether those of us who have married off our daughters observed African cultural norms, etc.

The Kabwata Baptist Church elders being interviewed by Noel Konga

The next interview was done by one of our elders, George Sitali. He interviewed our church’s ministry leaders. After the ministry leaders introduced themselves, they explained a little about how their ministries differ from other ministries in the church. The ladies ministry was asked about their greatest challenge and their greatest joy. Monde Mulunga, the ministry leader, talked about the challenge related to their outreach at night to prostitutes (which is dangerous) and the joy of seeing some of these women baptised and coming into membership in the church. Another challenge was finding another form of livelihood for these women who were now converted to Christ and so could not continue their nocturnal activities. Some of the other questions asked were: How do new members of the church find themselves in your ministries? When will the Music Ministry produce the next CD? Do ministries go to minister among the churches being planted in the mission field? What is your greatest challenge in leading your specific ministries?

John Chundu, the chairman of the deacons, giving the award to Ivor Chilufya

Commemorative Awards

The chairman of the deacons gave a token of thanks for exceptional hard work to Ivor Chilufya, the deacon in charge of finances. With KBC having over 400 members, about 40 employees, about 15 active outreach ministries, about 20 mission stations, etc., keeping the finances of the church flowing smoothly has been no small task. Hence, at our last members meeting in May, the members expressed appreciation for Ivor’s hard work. The church officers decided to seal this with a commemorative award, which was a Swiss cuckoo clock. Since this was not a common practice, one of the elders, Mwamba Chibuta, gave the biblical rationale for tokens of thanks being given when people are still alive—instead of only praising them when they are dead.

Mwamba Chibuta cutting the ribbon in front of the Kennedy Ndui Guest House

Another commemorative award was the naming of the church guesthouse. It was named “The Kennedy Ndui Guest House”. Kennedy Ndui was a single young man who joined KBC soon after he graduated in Civil Engineering at the University of Zambia. He was with us for just a few years, and during that time he spent almost all his free time from work on our church construction site when we were putting up the pastor’s house and the church auditorium. As it turned out, his was the first wedding to take place in this building, and his was also the first funeral to take place in the same building. Hence, Kennedy held a very special place in the hearts of KBC’s members. Mwamba Chibuta, led in the unveiling of the plaque.

A Sermon and Two Final Testimonies

One of our elders, Eric Sinyangwe, read Numbers 19:15ff. I then gave a brief exhortation from Exodus 13:21-22, entitled, “The Privilege of being led by Fire and by Cloud”. My main points were that “the cloud and fire” stood for God’s direction, God’s provisions, and God’s presence with the people of Israel. This was also a great treasure for us as individual Christians and as a church as we “travel” towards heaven.

After the sermon, the meeting watched a PowerPoint presentation on various aspects of the church. Whereas on the previous two occasions, we had presentations on the church’s membership, meetings, and ministries, this time it was on the church’s work of missions, our church officers, staff, and interns, and our inter-church activities. The photos were those taken in the last five years, in line with our emphasis for this event.

Lichawa Thole: “Leave vernacular church planting to us.”

One of our former missionaries, Lichawa Thole, gave his testimony about how the Lord has dealt with Chisomo Baptist Church (the church that God used him to plant) in the recent past. He stated that one of his greatest joys is that the current elders were all converted at Chisomo Baptist Church. He also stated that now that a number of vernacular churches have been planted, KBC should leave the planting of vernacular churches to the vernacular churches that have already been planted. He also expressed gratitude to God for the provision of land between Matero and Chunga for them to put up their church structures—which they had begun to do in earnest.

Adamson Shamfuti, one of the current three pastoral interns at KBC, gave the final testimony. Having spoken about his conversion and call to the ministry, he talked about how he trained for the ministry and came to the Reformed Faith while in training. Finally, he shared about how he came to KBC as an intern and how rewarding he has found working at KBC as an intern. He was most grateful to the church for paying him while he worked as an intern, which enabled him to look after his family.

George Sitali closed the meeting in prayer soon after 18.00 hours. The Music Ministry sang, “Through the Fire”, as we left the auditorium. We thank God for his goodness to us as a church for the last 25 years. We also thank all of you who have stood by our side as we have laboured for the gospel in our neck of the woods. To God alone be the glory—great things he has done. Amen!

The 2011 Antioch Youth Conference

For many a young person in the reformed fraternity in Lusaka, and increasingly from other denominations as well, the first week of July is reserved for the Antioch Youth Conference hosted by KBC youths. The conference is an annual event that brings young people from various Churches around Lusaka together to consider a specific current theme affecting young people. The conference is thus a great opportunity for fellowship, spiritual nourishment and salvation for many a young person.

The 2011 Antioch youth conference whose theme was “Why gain the world yet lose your soul?” was held on 4th and 5th July, 2011 at Kabwata Baptist Church. The theme was taken from Matthew 16: 26 and sought to challenge youths concerning valuing their souls above everything else. The speaker was Pastor Choolwe Mwetwa from Central Baptist Church, Chingola. He was assisted to handle seminars by Mr. Nchima Nchito who sought to encourage young people that they could run successful business enterprises in a God honouring manner while Mrs Agness Chakonta considered how believers can honour God in employment. Some of the pertinent questions they addressed included: why run after all the world offers? Why give your life to the pursuit of wealth and power at the expense of your immortal soul? The conference challenged the Christian to be distinct from the world and the non-Christian to true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

All in all in excess of 450 youths, drawn from the immediate physical neighbourhood of KBC, sister churches in Lusaka and others from neighbouring churches such as United Church of Zambia (UCZ), Reformed Church of Zambia (RCZ), Catholic and Pentecostal churches, gathered to hear the word preached. And they were not disappointed! Oh that the Lord would, in answer to his people’s prayers, raise a generation of godly young people!

The organizers of the conference are grateful to the Lord for yet another successful undertaking. But there were also many partners who made this reality possible. We wish to thank the elders and the deacons at KBC for their unwavering support to young people’s efforts as exemplified during this conference. We also wish to thank our speakers, Pastor Mwetwa, Mr Nchima Nchito and Mrs Agness Chakonta for availing themselves to be used as God’s instruments. We also wish to thank the general membership at KBC, young and old, whose financial and material contributions made organizing the conference a delight. Finally, we wish to thank the young people who literally came from every corner of Lusaka to honour our invitations to them. We thank you all and may the Lord bless you!